We've always enjoyed the Christmas commercials from Austria's Erste Bank, which over the past few years have featured high quality animation and storytelling by agency Jung von Matt/Donau. Originally they featured adorable animals, before the brand took a more human turn in 2020 with a story about a care home resident, and in 2021 turned its attention to the environment.
This year's ad takes even more of a darker tone, addressing the energy crisis with the story of a mysterious villain bent on destroying Christmas by turning off all the lights in a village. Given the situation in Europe at the moment, you don't have to wonder very hard who the story could be getting at here (clue: it's not the Grinch.)
The evil figures cuts power cables and sabotages car gas tanks on his mission to make everyone freeze. Luckily, the villagers warm up with candles and huddle with extra blankets in defiance of his efforts. According to Erste Group, the spot has already received one million views in less than a day, so it's obviously struck a chord.
“This year’s advert addresses all of us and the many challenges we are facing as a society right now," said Mario Stadler, head of group brand management and communications at Erste Group, in a statement. "In times of need, strong communities are the ones in which people help each other out. That's what we want to show in #believeinchristmas. Coming closer together -- that's what Christmas is really about.”
Jung von Matt Creative Director and Managing Partner Werner Singer added: “In this year’s advert, the holidays aren’t marked by candles gently burning on a Christmas tree or about the comfort of a steaming heater. Yes, the energy crisis has hit us all in #believeinchristmas. But the advert reminds us of what the real focus of this Christmas must be: a celebration of love. ‘Believe in Christmas’ is a more important message than ever.”
Direction is by Dorian and Daniel from Zauberberg, along with animation company Able&Baker.